AAF 526 (Bures Ordnance Ammunition Depot)

Your comments about life in Bures during the Second World War. Can you recall anything about the USAAF Bomb Dumps ? New web site launched November 2009
Post Reply
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:49 pm

AAF 526 (Bures Ordnance Ammunition Depot)

Post by sumter »

I congratulate all those who have collated the information on this website about the huge munitions dump around our villages. It makes fascinating reading about a little-known aspect of the air war.

It also offers an insight as to the attitude of the US Army to its black GIs, and explains a story I heard about the Kings Head pub in Pebmarsh: apparently there were often fights in there when white American servicemen clashed with their black counterparts. I heard a similar story about the Alma pub in Copford Green - one fight escalated and a revolver was fired into the pub ceiling! Black GIs were involved in the construction of the nearby Birch airfield.

The US Army Air Forces were segregated, and there were no black combat flyers - other than one squadron of highly-qualified negro Mustang pilots operating in the Mediterranean. In the UK, no black US personnel worked or lived on operational airfields other than to deliver ordnance.

Elsewhere in this forum, I note there is a reference to the Norden bombsight. It is extremely unlikely that these revered, and supposedly top-secret, instruments would ever have been taken off bomber airfields. Indeed, they were normally kept under lock and key between missions.

Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2007 7:49 am

Re: AAF 526 (Bures Ordnance Ammunition Depot)

Post by alan »

Over the past 5 -8 years I have researched this subject very thoroughly.
I have documented a great deal of information concerning the Depot around Bures Hamlet, Wakes & Earls Colne out to Pebmarsh.
This amounts to approx 50 pages of A4.
There appears to be no other archived material on the enormous "Bomb Dump" that took up hundreds of sq acres of the surrounding countryside.
I would be very pleased to hear from you if you can supply me with any "snippets" of information.
Do you live locally ?
Look forward to hearing from you
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:49 pm

Re: AAF 526 (Bures Ordnance Ammunition Depot)

Post by sumter »


You've done a splendid job. It is indeed very difficult to find out much about the site's history; even the RAF Museum has no record of RAF Wakes Colne, which seems to have been the name of the facility immediately after the war.

I suspect that, just after the war, the RAF's No. 95 Maintenance Unit (MU) were involved in clearing the ordnance and taking it to Ridgewell airfield for disposal. This MU, and others, were similarly involved with the bomb storage sites at Earsham and Barnham.

I note from your list of USAAF units at Bures that none were there before the autumn of 1943 - and most had been and gone a year later. This period coincides with the Ninth Air Force's Bomb Groups' operations from Essex airfields before they moved south and, later, into France. This, and the site's APO postal reference that you found, would suggest Bures served the Ninth Air Force, and not the Eighth. Logistically, that would probably mean muntions deliveries being limited to Essex airfields - there being no 9th AF bases in Suffolk. But there may have been exceptions based on geographical convenience.

I should have thought that the Eighth Air Force's three Air Divisions would each have had a main munitions supply point - the candidates include Earsham in Norfolk (2nd AD), Barnham in Suffolk (3rd AD) and Sharnbrook in Bedfordshire (1st AD; http://www.usaaf.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&p=1298 ).

If that was the case, then Bures would not have served any of the American airfields in Suffolk. Its 'customers' were probably the Essex-based medium bombers and fighters of the Ninth AF.

I'll PM you with more details...
rod miller
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:09 am
Location: Tasmania

Re: AAF 526 (Bures Ordnance Ammunition Depot)

Post by rod miller »

Hi My Great Aunt Jane Crook (Nee Smith) and her husband Des farmed Little Lovney Hall for many years I recall her telling me that the road passing by the farm and Molens cottage were stacked on either side of the road with bombs awaiting transport to the dromes. These supplies stretched for some miles and she often remarked that if they gone up the devastation would have been too awful to contemplate
Site Admin
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2007 7:29 am

Re: AAF 526 (Bures Ordnance Ammunition Depot)

Post by admin »


Thanks for that information
Several years ago I documented all the evidence I could find relating to this subject around Bures and the Colnes
I did place it online but it was plagiarised so much I had to take it off
Have a look at "http://www.bures.me.uk" there may be some information I left online.

(webmaster of the web site)
Post Reply